With the miraculous rescue of the miners in Chile by a government that refused to give up and whose bravery consolidated support from the major nations of the Western World, all else seems irrelevant. And yet, life goes on for those who did not spend almost 70 days and nights 2,000 feet beneath the surface of the earth and lived to tell the tale.
GENESIS AT THE CROSSROADS
What a wonderful musical week it has been (and, no, I do not mean Maestro Muti’s absence from the C.S.O.). The Saffron Caravan, a group in which I am proud to play part (and which I named during a meeting with Wendy Sternberg, founder and director of Genesis at the Crossroads,and Howard Levy, the group's Musical Director) is the musical ensemble that was formed to put our mission statement into action; “Bridging cultures in conflict through music and the arts.”
This past week, we played at the Genesis at the Crossroads gala dinner and concert at the Peninsula Hotel, where we were joined by activist folksinger Peter Yarrow, one-third of Peter, Paul and Mary. Although we had hardly any time for serious practice, Howard Levy (piano/harmonica), Kiu Haghimian (Iranian Santur), Humayun Khan (Indian Vocals and Harmonium), Jean-Christophe Leroy (percussion) and I were as inventive as ever and each one of us was at our musical peak. Joining Peter Yarrow in a rendition of the iconic sixties anthem, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Humayun improvised in fabulous Indian vocal style, the rest of the group played “killer” improvisations on their individual instruments as well as backing Peter; and I was privileged to softly sing a duet with him...
ANSHE EMET LIVE
After such a “high” I experienced another while presenting Anshe Emet Live, our once-a-month Friday evening service with the Stuart Rosenberg Ensemble. The attendance was surprisingly small but the music and prayer filled the room and hearts of all who attended. I truly believe in this portal to prayer as very important to Conservative congregational life.
THE SONS OF SEPHARAD Finally, to round out the weekend, I am joining another one of my ensembles, The Sons of Sepharad, (Gerard Edery, Aaron Bensoussan, myself and four amazing musicians form N.Y.) for a reprise concert in Los Angeles at Sephardic Temple Tifereth on Wilshire Boulevard. What a treat to sing with these very talent people and make Sephardic music into a rather testosterone-driven experience. It has been a long while since we have performed together and I pray we can do so again in the very near future.